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The Sermon on the Mount #4 - Jesus and the Law

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The Sermon on the Mount #4:

Jesus and the Law


Text: Matt. 5.17-20

Thesis: To note that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, yet He still demands

              faithful obedience to His teachings from His followers.


(1)    As you might imagine, some people in Jesus’ day alleged that Jesus was an enemy of the Law of Moses.

(2)    In this section of Scripture, Jesus sets the record straight by showing that He not only followed the Law of Moses, but that He Himself was the fulfillment of the Law.

(3)    Let us note Jesus’ view of the Law:


I.                   First, He stresses that He has come to fulfill the Law, not to abolish it.

A.    ‘Abolish’ (Gr. kataluo) means “to destroy completely by tearing down and dismantling” (Louw & Nida).

1.      This word is different from the word (i.e., Gr. katargeo) used in Eph. 2:15, which means ‘to cause something to lose its power or effectiveness” (BDAG).

2.      In other words, Jesus did not just do away with the Old Testament, instead His death caused it to become fulfilled and thus no longer binding.

B.     ‘Fulfill’ (Gr. pleroo) means “to bring to a designed end” (BDAG).

1.      Jesus fulfilled the Law by:

a.       Fulfilling all of the Messianic prophecies

b.      Keeping the Law perfectly

c.       Dying on the cross and thereby satisfying the demands of the Law

2.      In essence, Jesus fulfilled the Law by being its fulfillment.

C.     In verse 18, Jesus emphasizes that everything in the Law is important and will be fulfilled.

1.      Smallest letter = yod (66,420 times in the OT)

2.      Least stroke = serif

II.                Second, He calls for a true righteousness from among His followers.

A.      In verse 19, He argues that one who would be great in the kingdom of Heaven is one who would practice and teach all of the commands, even the least of them (i.e., “some commands are greater than others, but none are to be disregarded [MacArthur 1:270]).

B.      In verse 20, He calls for His followers to have a righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees.

1.      Concerning the scribes and Pharisees, they had a passion for “obedience” to the Law, which they had calculated to contain 248 commandments and 365 prohibitions.

2.      The truth of the matter was that their “obedience” was:

a.       External (cf. Matt. 15:8)

b.      Partial (cf. Matt. 23:23)

c.       Redefined (cf. Matt. 15:9)

d.      Self-centered (cf. Matt. 6:1ff.)

3.      In contrast to this, Jesus’ followers was to have a righteousness that was pure (i.e., internal, complete & God-centered).


(1)    Jesus has fulfilled the Law and therefore has made salvation a reality.

(2)    Would you come to Jesus and accept His salvation?

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